Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Townsend, Lucy, 1944-

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies


Ruthenians--Education--United States--History; Ethnic mass media--United States--History; Ukrainians--Education--United States--History


This thesis is about how Svoboda, the oldest continuously published Ukrainian-language newspaper in the world, contributed to the formation of the Ukrainian identity in the United States between 1893 and 1914. The first immigrants from Ukraine called themselves Rusyns. They were illiterate peasants who were indifferent to education. They were also stubborn, weak-willed, greedy, and lacking in civic responsibility. Mincing no words, the editors of Svoboda adopted the "tough love" approach to their constituents. Svoboda's editors believed that enlightenement through Americanization and Ukrainian- ization was the key to socio-economic progress. They tried to shame Rusyns into bettering themselves by comparing them to other ethnic groups and offering American models for family living, church attendance, and self-improvement. Adopting the motto "help yourself," and favoring bi-lingualism and bi-culturalism, Svoboda's editors promoted the establishment of adult reading rooms and heritage schools for Rusyn youth. They helped create an enlightenment society which published books, organized contests for young authors, and provided in-service training for teachers. Some 40 percent of America's Rusyns adopted a Ukrainian self-identity by 1914. This thesis provides a model for other ethnic groups struggling to maintain their identity in a multicultural America while moving into the socio-economic mainstream.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [171]-176)


viii, 176 pages




Northern Illinois University

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